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Message updated 25th June 2023

Monday 17 August 2015

Ulf Retrospective 2004 (Dangerous Marine)

Ulf's 'Dangerous Marine' series is based on a story by 'Rimpig' about two Marines who hook up in a bar after discovering a mutual interest in sleazy sex. An S&M encounter follows. If you read the story it is all about extending limits and experiences but is entirely consensual. Ulf's images seen in isolation cannot convey all these qualifications of course and can seem rather more edgy.

Ulf takes the trouble to illustrate the initial meeting between the two men in a fairly lengthy, introductory sequence of pictures which gives little clue of what is to come. Both men appear fairly ordinary in their behaviour in these pictures, but in the narrative the man telling the story is struck by the impression of danger and devilishness in his new acquaintance. He is no beginner in these things himself and their negotiation in the bar is very earthy and frank - as you might expect from the author's non-de-plume. The men are still both fully clothed of course but Ulf ensures that their musculature underneath is very much apparent.

The two men adjourn to a motel and the action opens with a less than romantic beer-recycling sequence (above) which establishes the 'Dangerous Marine' as being 'in charge'.

Ulf successfully conveys the eagerness of the new recruit to obey his sleazy orders.
A somewhat Gothic bed lurks in the background 

There's a surprise in store as the Dangerous Marine (deviating somewhat from his supposedly 'dangerous' persona) diligently produces a  waterproof sheet from his bag to protect the mattress. He then ties down his sub, spreadeagled on top of it. We can hardly see the pick-up in this image and that captures the sense that he is no longer an active participant. The upward view portrays him as though spread on a sacrificial altar, completely helpless. He has allowed his freedom to drain away to a complete stranger who has clearly meticulously prepared for this bondage scene. We now focus on him carefully ensuring that all will now accord to his plan.

The sub's trial proceeds with tit-clamping and cock-binding culminating in a session with the mini-flogger. It's designed to sting and thrill rather than cause damage but he soon discovers it is painful enough when applied to vulnerable places! 
His response is defiance and excitement.
Ulf images don't quite capture this battle of wills.

He does capture the subs excitement however as the Marine climbs aboard to enjoy some tenderised meat. Ulf's cock-binding is not exactly as described in the story but it's a visual treat.

The first kiss eventually arrives, but it's under the guise of a tasting session after the sub's face has been liberally odourised with butt skunk. The intimidating weapon and bullets on the side table do not actually feature in the written story and are probably metaphors for the obvious sexual acts in the offing. However, the sudden surfacing of this imagery combined with the sub's seeming discomfort at his predicament gives this picture an unexpected, distinctly sinister flavour. 

If you saw this picture in isolation, it might make you think of a homoerotic 'Home Alone' scenario.

Ulf captures the fleeting moment of romance. The Marine demonstrates his strength and power
as he releases the sub from his ropes and picks him up bodily
 - but it's only to turn him over and the poor man is immediately re-secured, 
face down on the rubber sheet.

The sub's newly exposed buns are an irresistible target for more punishment.
Ulf turns to comic art techniques to focus our attention on the evidence of a severe spanking. 

The Marine soon returns to his flogger, using it freely on the restrained man's back
and leaving him squirming helplessly.

Finally he relieves his excitement in the usual way.
There's a distinctly triumphal feel to the way Ulf portrays this moment,
with little sense of mutual enjoyment.

The Dangerous Marine signs off with a general hosing down 
which links back nicely to the opening scenes.

The two men end up the best of friends.


While the 56 images that make up this series are not all necessarily Ulf's best, there are some gems amongst them and sheer act of sustained creation is no mean achievement. Set together they create a coherent and powerful storyline capable of standing on it's own without the accompanying narrative. Indeed Ulf seems to go further than Rimpig's story at times, taking to heart that 'Dangerous Marine' title which is not really borne out in the original story.

Ulf's series does not encompass the entire span of Rimpig's story which after the initial episode wades into fairly deep waters about war and it's consequences. Ulf chose to just deal with the initial sexual encounter treating it a bit like a porn video. In that respect this series builds on the 'Buddy System' series of 2002 which depicts a similar brief (but vanilla) episode. His interest in the detailed, gradual progression of sexual sessions between men resurfaces in later years too. It contrasts quite oddly with his ability shown elsewhere to tell stories in a single picture.

Continued with 2005
(To read these articles from the beginning start with Ulf Retrospective part 1

Ulf has a blog The Ulfian which is an interesting mix of his art, political comment and selected porn.
There's also an Ulfian fan club on Google Groups which you have to join (but it's free). 
The older Fan Club on Yahoo! Groups seems to be inactive now.

Monday 10 August 2015

Ulf Retrospective - 2004

Ulf - Dangerous Marine (title page)
The highlight of Ulf's work in 2004 has got to be 'Dangerous Marine', a series of 56 illustrations for an S&M pick-up story by 'RimPig'. The sheer size of this project may have impacted the rest of his work in this year which is less exciting than usual. The second part of this article covers 'Dangerous Marine' in more depth.
Ulf - Title Unknown 
Ulf produced a number of works in this fuzzy photographic style in 2004 and although I like the end result it looks like an adapted photograph and it's hard to tell how much artistic input is attributable to him alone. He certainly doesn't credit anyone else. The close-cropped, close-up format is most untypical of his previous work.
Ulf - Shall We Begin?
This is probably one of the better known pieces from this year and harks back to earlier years in some ways with the sinuous, almost feminine pose of the broad-hipped Top who displays some rather suspect fashion sense. It makes a striking contrast with the conventional and quite striking masculinity of his captive. In popular fiction, these kinds of coquettish, 'gay' mannerisms are often associated with ruthless cruelty. As is often the case with Ulf, the title enhances the story of the picture (and it's a great shame titles so often get lost in Internet circulation). It's couched in the elegant language of genteel society, seeming to amplify the innate superiority of the Top and suggesting an element of formal ritual with preordained roles. It adds up to a rather intimidating threat and we somehow know that the captive is not an equal partner in this arrangement.

Ulf - You're Next
Ulf's method of artistic creation is particularly amenable to devising multiple character and orgy scenes. There's a long tradition of detailed, moralistic story telling in a single, complex picture (think for example of Bosch, Hogarth).  I wouldn't suggest Ulf's work equals these masters but there's a similar melange of chaos, debauchery and punishment at the centre of this picture (with a hint of greater sadism in the waiting cross).

Notice how no-one here is facing the viewer, we are on the outside looking in. At first sight it seems that the orgy is also being witnessed from the outside by two lovers, one whispering in the ear of the other as though urging him to join in, a very classical temptation scene in other words. However, the title of the picture disabuses us of this misconception, this young man has already sold his soul and will do as he is told from now on. Whether you think there's a 'moral' here is up to you, but it makes you wonder if those old masters were warning against immorality - or celebrating it!
Ulf - Title Unknown 
The bowie knife seen lurking in Ulf's 2001 work returns in this predicament scene with an edge (!)  It's an erotic adaptation of the ancient tale of the 'Sword of Damocles', recounted by Cicero. That story was about the constant fear of attack which goes with power but Ulf's is a parable of obedience and endurance in the face of pain and danger. The sub's powerful arousal in response to his predicament is likely to earn him more of the same. Ultimately though the threat posed by the knife is not entirely convincing, despite the glint on the blade suggesting it's extreme sharpness (and who'd want to damage this hunk?) But it's still a memorable image.

There's another image in this year where the knife is used to coerce an unwilling sexual partner but it's too near the knuckle for this blog.

Ulf - Screw Machine
An even more sophisticated predicament, albeit one that has become quite familiar in the years since this was drawn, via the videos of ButtMachineBoys. Ulf's version comes with the bonus of an operator and bondage for added compulsion. The mechanics of the machine are not entirely convincing but the pose of the tied up 'pokee' is nicely erotic, although it's a disappointment for me that the pressure on his scrotum is entirely self-induced and voluntary.

The overseer leaves him too it, standing to one side and passing up the opportunity for a bit of mischief. In fact he appears to be subconsciously fingering his missing wrist watch, as though bored or late for an appointment. Perhaps he's figuring how long it will take him to go and get the electrical leads he forgot to bring with him for the controller on the side table. Joking aside, there's a sense of incompleteness in the concept here.

Ulf's original title might shed some light on this, I rather doubt mine is correct. It looks too as though someone has adjusted the colouring of this image away from Ulf's customary darkened, orange-y hues. That may have clarified the detail but has also deadened the atmosphere. 
Compare with the picture below.

Ulf - All Mine
 Ulf uses his lighting skills to the full in this romantic, kidnap fantasy, bathing the scene in warm light and conjuring up a sunny, idyllic, tropical paradise outside the window. It's nice to see a hairy torso celebrated for a change and the theme of an older man taken captive would gratify the fantasies of many a yearning boy - and a few older ones too, no doubt. It's not without it's poignant side, reflected in the shabby, neglected location necessarily chosen for the victory ceremony.

I like Ulf's parody of the captive as saintly martyr. It's not clear whether he is horrified by the assault upon his person or by his own reaction too it. The light of heaven is being unhelpful today, falling on both victim and perpetrator and cheerfully illuminating their sinful act.

(To read these articles from the beginning start with Ulf Retrospective part 1

Ulf has a blog The Ulfian which is an interesting mix of his art, political comment and selected porn.

There's also an Ulfian fan club on Google Groups which you have to join (but it's free). 
The older Fan Club on Yahoo! Groups seems to be inactive now.

Saturday 1 August 2015

Real Men Ride The Wedge at Bound Gods

I recently stumbled across this early example of the Bound Gods 'mini-wedge'
(previously shown being used on Trey Turner).

This 2008 video "Ring The Bell" (don't ask!) is probably better remembered for a lengthy sequence illustrated above with Park Wiley suspended and roped to a massive wooden block across his shoulders. 

Wiley spends just a few minutes astride the wedge but it produces some excellent imagery as Tober Brandt first flogs him (top image) and then gets romantic (above)

Events take a surprising turn when Tober climbs aboard himself to share the wedge, giving us a cheek splitting view which makes me wonder how I ever forgot this piece! 

These two have got their feet on the ground (for genuine Health and Safety reasons, unlike the memorable Cody Allen Classic in this genre). The implied sharing of both punishment and lust here would be a classic S&M image were it more convincingly executed. I'm happy to make do with Tober's buns though.

 The scene ends with the symbolic removal of Wiley's mask (and I for one am glad to see it go) allowing a nice intimate moment.

Click on the wedge label below for other articles in this series.